If you believe you or someone else may be having a possible stroke, don’t wait. Dial 9-1-1 immediately. “There’s a short window of time to treat a stroke,” says Tony Greenway, CCT-P, MBA, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Manager for The Valley Health System. “Every minute a stroke goes untreated, up to 2.5 million brain cells die,” he says. “Because of this, getting treatment fast is critical.” Here are important points to remember.
Don't worry, you're not a bother.
"A lot of folks are afraid they're not sick enough to call 9-1-1, or they don't want to be a bother, especially if they have symptoms late at night," says Greenway. "It's never a bother to come out. This is what we're here for," he says. "Paramedics are very well-trained and can identify these things quickly."
Take your symptoms seriously.
Sometimes people think their symptoms may be related to something else, such as a muscle pull, and they put off seeking help, says Greenway. This can put them at risk of serious disabilities later or even death. "Any time there is a question, people should call 9-1-1 and let the paramedics come out," he emphasizes.
Don't drive yourself to the hospital, call 9-1-1.
“When you dial 9-1-1, our local paramedics can begin immediate assessment and treatment right in your home. They will then pre-alert our hospital using EMS radios. With that alert, our hospital team immediately goes into action and prepares for anticipated treatment, even before the patient has arrived,” says Greenway. “Always dial 9-1-1 and experience the fastest and best care possible.”
Recognize these signs of stroke and act FAST
The most common symptoms of a possible stroke can be remembered by this acronym:
FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is it slurred or strange?
TIME: Time is critical! If you see any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately!